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This placebo-controlled randomized trial investigated the efficacy and safety of once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide administration as long-term treatment in adults with obesity or in those who are overweight with at least one weight-related comorbidity (excluding diabetes). At 104 weeks, treatment with semaglutide was associated with a −15.2% mean change in body weight (treatment difference, −12.6% points) and a significantly higher likelihood of achieving weight loss ≥5% from baseline compared with placebo. However, mild to moderate gastrointestinal adverse events were more frequent with semaglutide.
This study suggests that semaglutide is a safe and effective treatment for patients who are overweight and obese, promoting sustained weight loss over a 2-year period. Large prospective studies are necessary to further characterize the efficacy and long-term safety profile in diverse populations.
The STEP 5 trial assessed the efficacy and safety of once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide 2.4 mg versus placebo (both plus behavioral intervention) for long-term treatment of adults with obesity, or overweight with at least one weight-related comorbidity, without diabetes. The co-primary endpoints were the percentage change in body weight and achievement of weight loss of ≥5% at week 104. Efficacy was assessed among all randomized participants regardless of treatment discontinuation or rescue intervention. From 5 October 2018 to 1 February 2019, 304 participants were randomly assigned to semaglutide 2.4 mg (n = 152) or placebo (n = 152), 92.8% of whom completed the trial (attended the end-of-trial safety visit). Most participants were female (236 (77.6%)) and white (283 (93.1%)), with a mean (s.d.) age of 47.3 (11.0) years, body mass index of 38.5 (6.9) kg m-2 and weight of 106.0 (22.0) kg. The mean change in body weight from baseline to week 104 was -15.2% in the semaglutide group (n = 152) versus -2.6% with placebo (n = 152), for an estimated treatment difference of -12.6 %-points (95% confidence interval, -15.3 to -9.8; P < 0.0001). More participants in the semaglutide group than in the placebo group achieved weight loss ≥5% from baseline at week 104 (77.1% versus 34.4%; P < 0.0001). Gastrointestinal adverse events, mostly mild-to-moderate, were reported more often with semaglutide than with placebo (82.2% versus 53.9%). In summary, in adults with overweight (with at least one weight-related comorbidity) or obesity, semaglutide treatment led to substantial, sustained weight loss over 104 weeks versus placebo. NCT03693430.